Preview: OLYMPUS M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 150-400MM F4.5 TC1.25X IS PRO

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The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400 mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO is the largest lens from Olympus for the Micro Four Thirds system. It also has the largest range of all MFT lenses. Converted to full frame, it has a range of 300 to 800 mm, and with the built-in 1.25x teleconverter, it can be extended to 1000 mm with a simple switch. And all that with a weight of less than 1900 grams. The price for all this good stuff is pretty hefty.

Click on the lens for specifications, prices and test results.

TEST RESULTS Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO:

PROS

CONS

  • Enormous range

  • Lightweight

  • Relatively high brightness

  • Dual IS

  • Lots of function buttons

  • Weather resistant

  • Built-in teleconverter

  • Hefty price

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400 mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO must be almost a dream lens for any nature photographer or aircraft spotter.

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400 mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO is a lens that was announced when the Olympus OM-D E-M1 X was introduced and was shown as a mock-up. The long wait is finally over, and the official introduction is a fact. Fans eagerly looked forward to this lens. It is the zoom lens with the longest range currently available, converted to full frame. On the smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor, the 150-400mm works like a 300 to 800mm on full frame. The brightness remains a good F4.5 over this entire range. Thanks to the built-in 1.25x teleconverter, this range can be extended even further. With the converter switched on, you get a 190-500mm F5.6. On a full-frame camera, this corresponds to a 380-1000mm zoom lens.

For those for whom that’s not enough, it can also be enlarged with Olympus’s 1.4x and 2x converters to a truly amazing 2000mm. Then you have a brightness of F/11, but that’s not even that bad for 2000mm. However, due to the high pixel density of modern MFT sensors, you do suffer from diffraction and thus loss of image quality.

In MFT terms, this is a huge lens. It is 314 mm long and weighs just under 1900 grams. This is the lens for MFT photographers who suffered from an inferiority complex with their relatively small Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300 mm F4 IS Pro when standing between other photographers in a photo shelter. But if you put this lens next to a full-frame 150-600mm zoom or fixed focal length 500mm, it’s still relatively small. And at the same time, it offers a smaller field of view and therefore more range. The 150-400 mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO is somewhat comparable to the Canon EF 200-400 mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x. It has a slightly smaller zoom range and a slightly higher brightness, and it has a built-in, switchable teleconverter. The Canon is 5 centimeters longer, more than one centimeter thicker, and – most noticeably – almost twice as heavy. And you’re going to feel that when you use a lens like this by hand.

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400 mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO makes good use of three qualities of the Olympus system. The relatively small MFT sensor ensures a small field of view, which means that everything in frame is big with this lens. Due to the excellent weather resistance of Olympus’s E-M1 cameras and the equally good seal of the 150-400mm, you can use this lens in weather and wind. And the image stabilization of this lens, in combination with the acclaimed built-in image stabilization of the Olympus cameras, ensures that you have image stabilization at 150 mm to 8 stops. This drops to 6 stops at 400mm, but for a telephoto lens, that’s still extremely high. This makes it easy to work by hand with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400 mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO, even at the extreme zoom position.

Actually, the only disadvantage of all this beauty is the fairly hefty price of €6,999.00. The Canon EF 200-400 mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x costs almost 50% more, but it’s still a hefty amount, and it’s by far the most expensive lens you can buy for MFT cameras. Those who find this too much can of course opt for the cheaper and lighter M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400 mm F5.0-6.3 IS.

Build

The optical design of the 150-400 mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO is quite complex. The lens has no fewer than 28 lens elements in 18 groups. The teleconverter alone contains 7 lens elements. The lens has several elements of ED and HR glass and 1 aspherical element. To keep the weight low, the outside of the lens is largely made of plastic over a metal alloy chassis. The large lens hood is made of carbon fiber. As a genuine Olympus Pro lens, the 150-400 mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO is equipped with lots of gaskets to make it resistant to moisture and dust.

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400 mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO is generously equipped with buttons and switches. There are four programmable buttons around the lens in front of the focusing ring. Behind the tripod collar on the left are the usual switches for MF/AF, setting the focus range and the focus range. Unique are the switches for setting a pre-programmed function and for turning the beep of the focus on and off. On the right, above the switch for the teleconverter, there is an additional button with which you can directly go to a pre-set focusing distance.

Focus Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400 mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO has a fast and quiet focus motor. In combination with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 X, the 150-400 mm even has bird detection for autofocus after the new firmware update of the E-M1 X. This should make photographing flying birds a lot easier. The shortest setting distance is 1.3 meters over the entire range. The maximum magnification at 400 mm is 0.29x. Converted to full frame, that’s 0.57x. With the teleconverter, it’s 0.71x (full frame eq.). That makes it possible to photograph small subjects without having to get close to them.

Image quality Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CYumeJyl-8

Soon we will receive a copy in our test lab, and then we will publish a full review.

 

 

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO

 specifications
  
field of view (diag)8.2-3.1° / 6.6-2.5° with 1.25xTC
sensor formatMFT
min. setting distance103 cm
filter diameter95
diaphragm blades9
image stabilizeryes, Dual IS
dimensions (dxl)

115×314 mm

weight1875 gr
mountMFT
particularsbuilt-in teleconverter
importerwww.olympus.eu
list price€ 6,999.00
  
resolution
contrast
chromatic aberration
distortion
vignetting
autofocus
flare
finish
  
final score

Conclusion: Review Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO on Olympus OM-D E-M1 X

As soon as we have the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400 mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO in our test lab, a complete review will follow.

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400 mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO is expected to be available from the end of January 2021, and the list price is €6,999.00.